5 ways smart restaurants get people talking
Finding new ways to attract customers and generating sales for your business is now more challenging than ever. And thanks to fierce competition in the food services industry, it is no longer enough just to have a nice-looking restaurant to help you stand out. Winning in this business now requires a good strategy to make the most out of every opportunity available. Interestingly, there is one dominant trend that tends to get neglected by many businesses: Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM).
There is no denying the fact that most valued information is garnered from personal experience. That’s why people listen when their loved ones tell them their experiences regarding different products, services and restaurants. Consider this; according to Pew Research Centre, 72% of people make decisions after getting updates from friends and family, while 61% of people recommend their preferred local businesses to others they know. Marketers understand the importance of WOMM – research shows that many rate it 4.28 on a 5 point scale. In short, it’s time your restaurant started paying attention to it.
How Word-Of-Mouth Advertising Works For Restaurants
The industry’s projected sales were $863 billion in 2019, with over 1 million new restaurant locations opening up during the year. These numbers are very promising for future growth – as long as you can get customers through the door. Generating word of mouth for restaurants should be a top priority and the only way to do it right is to please your existing customers. It is the most potent marketing tactic and should be employed often. When done right, WOMM can build excitement among your existing and prospective clientele. When you host special events and happy hours etc. to create goodwill for your restaurant, it gets new customers through the door. More importantly it gives your existing customers a chance to see how much you care about them and they often use opportunities such as these to bring in their friends and family.
Using Word of Mouth in Your Restaurant Marketing Plan
Many marketing best practices and strategies naturally encourage word of mouth, but it is crucial to implement well-thought-out campaigns with the explicit aim of getting your restaurant the exposure it needs online. Here are several ways to get more traffic flowing to your restaurant:
Use Social Media
Customer engagement has become a lot easier for businesses that use social media platforms to connect with their target market. In fact, research shows that building an online community is critical for raising word of mouth referrals and brand awareness. Use your Facebook and Instagram to reach out to customers, and pay special attention to any negative comments and reviews left about your restaurant. Remember, everyone’s watching how you handle the criticism, so be kind and considerate, and offer compensation when necessary. Encourage your existing clientele to share photos of your food and décor on their profiles to win discounts and freebies. Keep them engaged online with events and promotional activities – and they’ll bring their friends and family to your business.
Set Up A Referral Program
Don’t try to make referral programs formal with entry forms to fill out and reward tiers for tracking. Instead, keep it easy and fun; for example, offer your patrons free ice cream or coffee every time they bring a friend. Remember, a small discount or freebie can go a long way in ensuring long-term loyalty.
When you incentivize referrals, it becomes a casual game for them to see what they’ll win next. Also, make sure that your staff understands the requirements of the loyalty program so they can communicate it to the customer; otherwise, it won’t gain much traction. Your referrals can also be executed online by asking your customers to share your deals and offers to their friends and family via their smartphones. These can be easily tracked using software and apps, so you can find out what deals got the most traction along with the offers that did not perform well. Track the referrals using an app and a tablet, and tell your followers to redeem their rewards in-store for added traction.
Make Sure Your Food Is Worth Sharing
A picture can paint a thousand words – it can also sell expensive cuisine better than anything else. If your food is not only delicious but also presented beautifully, it compels the diners to take a picture and show the world how good they have it. And these mouth-water images, in turn, bring in more customers who are willing to pay a premium price for the same stellar experience. It might even be a good idea to hire a photographer a few times a month to take amazing shots of your food and share the images on social media with enticing captions. Simply put, people love to share and talk about food so give them a reason to do just that.
Review Campaigns For Yelp And Google
Yelp and Google My Business can deliver a lot of traffic to your website and restaurant. Most customers head on over to these review platforms to leave comments about businesses they’ve interacted with. Those who are deciding whether they should spend on a particular brand also visit these sites to read what existing customers have to say about the business. It is imperative to amass a maximum number of 4 and 5-star reviews to keep more business flowing your way. Implementing a viable strategy for getting these reviews shouldn’t cost a thing – use the same referral above to entice loyal customers to leave reviews in return for an incentive. Actively manage these listings with photos, menu, specials, events and other announcements to help people make up their minds.
People love the convenience of the mobile applications and online ordering. Take, for example, Starbucks and their mobile order and payment facilities, and how they enhanced sales and optimized human resource costs. Now it’s easier than ever to offer mobile experience for your restaurant. Consider working with a vendor to develop a branded mobile application to offer mobile ordering, digital menus and other features without paying commissions to third-party services like Ubereats and Doordash. It all ties in with improving your restaurant’s customer service experience and ultimately creating better opportunities.
There you have it, all the ways you can start reaping the benefits of word of mouth marketing for your restaurant today. These strategies do not require a large investment or significant training; you only need to ensure that your staff is dedicated to creating a customer experience that compels people to talk about your business and keeps them coming back for a very long time.
TapMango can help your restaurant through automated referral campaigns, Yelp and Google review boost, your own branded app and so much more. Request a personalized demo now